The life of Lex

Random ramblings on travel, London life, roast ratings etc

“United Bulgarians can lift a mountain”

Bulgarian Proverb

 

sofia ruins

So as part of my plan to visit as many countries as I can this year, whilst working full-time, I’ve been popping across to Europe whenever I have a few days off, so in April, I visited Sofia in Bulgaria.

I didn’t really know what to expect and travelling so soon after a month along trip, I hadn’t really done much research. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised! Bulgaria is cheap, the people are friendly with most speaking English well and it’s beautiful!

sofia mountain over city

The first thing I noticed on arrival in Sofia was a snow covered mountain rising above the town at the end of Vitosha Boulevard, the main shopping street. These are the Vitosha Mountain massif and somewhere immediately high on my priority list to visit!

I’d booked an Urban Adventures ‘Food, Heritage and Culture’ tour for my first afternoon so headed straight off on this. It was a great introduction to the city, as I saw many of the beautiful historic buildings and churches, ancient ruins and tried some delicious food along the way. I also picked up tips on where to head over the rest of my time and restaurant recommendations. The traditional Bulgarian salad was a big favourite and I ordered this a few more times… The dishes mostly feature hearty meat and potatoes. I made sure I sampled a few Bulgarian wines too.

 

bulgarian salad

I enjoyed just strolling around, admiring the architecture, and popping into churches or museums as they took my fancy. I visited the women’s market and the main food market and crossed over a few bridges.

I stayed at a Guest House just off Vitosha Boulevard, with a kitchen so that I could make my own coffee and breakfast in the morning, and had the option of making lunch for the day too. The room was comfortable but basic – just what I needed.

With only 4 days in Bulgaria, I have to confess that I didn’t actually spend all that long in Sofia itself, as I escaped the city by heading to the mountains and booked a day trip to Plovdiv and Koprivshtiza (more anon…). I’d recommend a visit to all of these and think I’ll be back myself to visit Varna, or to easily pop to Serbia or Macedonia!

sofia fountain

 

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me”

Jim Valvano

 

This year, I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel with my Dad and even more so that I was able to get a month off work to do so! I have always been close to my parents and since we lost Mum suddenly last year, it is even more important that we all look out for each other. Dad has always wanted to go to Australia but Mum wasn’t such a good traveller. This year, I had a conference in Singapore and thought this would be a great opportunity to visit my best friend who has been living in Melbourne for the last four years. And of course, I invited Dad along too…

sydney harbour

As I do shift work, I was able to travel between sets of nights which helped maximise my leave and with study leave built in too, I was able to get the most leave I’ve ever had in one go, since I graduated. Obviously there were constraints on dates with regard to the conference and shifts. Overall we had just two weeks in Australia, then a few days in Singapore for the conference and a week after that.

GOR light

I’ve been to Australia three times before but still have loads of places that I’ve yet to go. My Dad is so laid back that it was really difficult to get him to tell me what he wanted to do. My original plan had been Melbourne, Sydney, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef i.e. to see the things most people probably thing of when they think of Australia. Dad said he was really keen to see Sydney but wasn’t that fussed about Uluru and as the flights were expensive, that then got dropped. The Great Ocean Road is my personal favourite thing in Australia – I’ve now been three times! And with my friend being based in Melbourne, that was an easy decision. I did my PADI in Cairns 9 years ago but a bit of google research told me that Port Douglas or Palm Cove was a much better option to stay in to access the Great Barrier Reef, so we stayed in both! One of my cousins spent a year travelling around Australia and recommended Noosa and Brisbane so they were our final destinations, and new to me too.

As Singapore is not that big (and I’ve been before), I planned to see things in the evening after my conference and to pop out in the hour long lunch breaks too, so we flew out the day after it finished.

singapore skyline

For the final week, I figured we’d go somewhere that was at least in the vague direction of home. We debated between Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan etc before finally settling on Vietnam. As we wanted to be home in time for Easter with the family, that only gave us five days in Vietnam and thus we had to decide whether we’d prefer to see the North or South. As direct flights back to the UK are only on alternate days, that made our decision for us so we were off to Hanoi and Halong Bay!

halong bay boats

Travelling with Dad was fantastic – I can now appreciate my parents for the people they are themselves. It also meant I gained a better insight into how he’s coping. It was nice to not need to be quite so budget conscious too! Dad is a perfect travelling companion – easy going, willing to try most things and always willing to stop for a beer or two! Thanks Dad x

Brisbane skyline

“I don’t know what London’s coming to – the higher the buildings the lower the morals”

Noel Coward, 1931

 

55 broadway

I have long wanted to do a behind the scenes tour in London but am rarely around for the open house weekends. Last year, I noticed TFL’s Hidden London events and so signed up to London Transport Museum newsletter so that I’d be the first to hear when new events were advertised and get priority booking 24 hours before they go on general sale.

We finally went on a tour at the end of February, having chosen 55 Broadway as the dates and price suited us best. This was once the headquarters of London Transport and as London’s first skyscraper, was controversial from the outset. It was completed in 1929 so I thought Noel Coward’s quote above was pretty apt! For much of the 19th century, the area was essentially a slum but the opening of St James’s Park station began to change this.

55 Broadway was designed by the architect Charles Holden, who’s modernist style set him apart. Frank Pick, Managing Director of the Underground, chose Holden as they shared a liking of matching form with function. The unconventional crucifix shape allowed a maximum amount of natural light into the offices. The other visionary instrumental in making 55 Broadway possible was Lord Ashfield, Chairman of the Board.

55 statue willy

Holden commissioned seven of Britain’s leading artists to create ten sculptures for the buildings exterior. Eight of these represent the four directional winds, two each on the corresponding façade. Jacob Epstein was asked to sculpt Night and Day, which were widely criticised, resulting in Day (pictured above) having his appendage shortened…

Our tour started in the foyer, where I was intrigued by the clocks which showed how often tubes ran through various stations and in which direction. There were numerous old tfl posters, photos of various important people from tfls history and nice touches like the post shoots for internal mail. We were told about the hierarchy extending both to which floor your office was on to which canteen and toilets you were allowed to use!

55 clocks

 

We had booked onto the last tour of the day, starting at 16.45 at the end of February, and lasting for 90 minutes. As luck would have it, this meant that we reached the outside viewing deck for sunset and thus got beautiful views over London in the evening light.

55 dusk

As I’m very behind with my blog posts, we’ve already booked for more Hidden London events this year, with both Euston tunnels and Down Street to come. Hopefully our guides will be just as fantastic next time too!

55 poster edit

 

 

“The chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon”

Senegalese proverb

SL art

The only other place that I managed to visit whilst in Senegal was Saint-Louis, which I did on a two day tour from Dakar. Much more pleasant than a bus with no delays and travelling in comfort with air-conditioning. As it’s a good four to five hour drive, I’d definitely recommend staying overnight personally. I was impressed with the quality of the roads and once you are outside Dakar, there are lots of villages displaying different wares.

On the way, we stopped at a large baobab tree, thought to be 350 years old and my guide explained how every bit of the tree is used – pretty incredible! Once in Saint-Louis, I realised quite how far outside of the town centre my hotel (Hotel Mermoz – hotelmermoz.com) was. I had a few hours to kill before my city tour so would have struggled to get back into the town centre but this did mean that I relaxed by the pool and strolled along the beach.

SL horse cart

Truthfully, there is not a lot to do in Saint-Louis. I gather that most visitors do a city tour in a horse and cart and walk across the Faidherbe bridge (metal bridge in the first picture). The horse and cart tour is well worth doing and is a great way to explore the town. Saint-Louis was the original capital of Senegal when it was under French rule and there are a number of beautiful buildings that are reminiscent of the nationalities of previous inhabitants. We saw the world war 1 memorial, the old storage facilities for the when the ships unloaded and a couple of pet pelicans!

SL statue

The highlight of the tour was seeing the fishing community in action. Not only were the pirogues setting off for the night with families coming to wave them off but there was the fish market and lots of evidence of the preparation of salted fish. No one seemed to mind us wondering around taking photos. Once back at the hotel, it would have been rude not to have fish for dinner!

SL fish insta

The next morning, after a delicious continental style breakfast of French bed and croissants, we headed off for the Langue de la Barbarie National Park, which is famed for its abundant bird species. I think I was the first tourist of the day, so pretty much had the park to myself, along with my guide and driver of course! We set off in a pirogue and headed out to a sandy ridge where there were pelicans, herons etc. Apparently there are sometimes flamingos too.rons etc. Apparently there are sometimes flamingos too.

SL boat trip

I thoroughly enjoyed the boat trip, even if the others found it a little chilly! We could see fishing boats still out at sea and there were some pristine sandy beaches which were totally unspoilt – a real bonus in Senegal where I was shocked by the amount of litter in some places!

SL birds

SL national park

I don’t know much about birds but am pleased that I visited as it was something a bit different before the journey back to Dakar. On this journey, I asked to stop and see where the salt was being collected from where the river floods in rainy season. Absolutely fascinating but a lot of hard work.

SL salt

Overall, I had a great time on my fleeting visit to Senegal but don’t feel I really got to see the true country… If you’re planning on visiting, perhaps give yourself longer than 5 days!!

SL dusk

Next stop: Australia, Singapore and Vietnam!!

“The gracefulness of the slender fishing boats that glided into the harbour in Dakar was equalled only by the elegance of the Senegalese women who sailed through the city in flowing robes and turbaned heads”

Nelson Mandela

dak monument crop

With my lack of French, I decided that the best use of my time was to do a city tour on my first day in Dakar. It’s a large city, so to get around, you definitely need some form of transport and I felt it would be too difficult to find a taxi driver that spoke English and thus could get me to what I wanted to see and would be happy to wait for however long I needed elsewhere.

As I was the only one on my tour, I could dictate what we saw to some extent and as I didn’t want to go shopping, this was factored in. There were some things that I wouldn’t have gone to, such as the shopping mall but was impressed by the multi-coloured map of Africa and the photos of people who have been important to the people of Senegal which are situated behind it. As the tour lasts for a couple of hours, there would be time to go back and see anything that you wanted to spend more time at.

dak pointe des almadies

The must-do’s in Dakar for me where the African Renaissance Monument (pictured at the top) and Pointe des Almadies, the western most point of Africa. The African Renaissance mounument is situated outside of Dakar on one of the surrounding hills and is the tallest statue in Africa. There are good views from the top and interesting art exhibitions on the lower floors. To be honest, there is not much to see at Pointe des Almadies (pictured far left of the photo above), hence choosing a photo taken from a distance, but I have now been to the what are generally regarded as the most south and west points of Africa.

I also enjoyed just chilling out on the beach at Yoff, which is where I was staying. The Senegalese are very keen on exercise so regardless of the time of day, but more commonly in the evenings, there were loads of people jogging up and down or doing various exercises. I was also lucky enough to watch some traditional fishing.

For me, the main highlights of visiting Dakar are found well away from the city itself and are Ile de Goree and the Lake Retba (the pink lake).

Ile de Goree

idg from boat crop

Ile de Goree is a district of Dakar but on an island located 2-3km away. It is famed for its reputation for being involved in the slave trade and so my first stop was the House of Slaves, a museum and memorial to the Atlantic Slave trade. I thought it was nice that it was almost the colours of the Senegal flag, with red stone pillars and stairs, yellow walls and green doors. The ‘door of no return’ is said to be where millions of enslaved Africans passed through as they left the continent. Of course there is some controversy about this as slaves left from many other points of Africa and the building was built relatively recently, however it is a thought-provoking museum and it is said that when Nelson Mandela visited, he needed some time alone as it reminded him of his own imprisonment and all that he had fought for.

idg slave house stairs

idg statue

The rest of the island is great to stroll around, with very pretty cobbled streets, old fashioned lanterns, flowers and palm trees. It is peaceful and calm. On the top of the hill is an artists community with a variety of pictures and sculptures, as well as views across to the mainland. It was so relaxing that I decided to stay for dinner with a view of the sea and the approaching ferry. Of course, I opted for poulet yassa and a beer!

idg boats

It is well worth the 20 minute ferry ride (CAF5200 return) but check the ferry times in advance as they only run every 90-120 minutes! I was dropped off at the ferry terminal but found it very easy to buy my ticket and get around the island on my own. Finally a bit of independent travel!!

Lake Retba

Lac Rose or the pink lake is 30km away from Dakar and is named for its pink waters caused by the type of algae. It is also known for its high salt content, which is up to 40% in some areas. It was really interesting to watch all the hard work that goes into collecting the salt from the bottom of the lake.

pink lake salt

Sadly, the lake doesn’t always look pink and on the day I visited, it only really looked pink when you looked directly from above. We arrived at around 12noon and when we were sitting have lunch an hour or so later, it was already looking a bit more pink. I visited on a tour which included a boat trip – with retrospect, I probably could have managed to visit here on my own also. There is the option of hiring a dune buggy or a camel ride but having done both on travels elsewhere and being short of time, I didn’t do either.

pink lake

Overall, I only had 2.5 days in Dakar but think this is about right as I got to see everything that I really wanted to and as it was light until about 7pm, I also had time to chill out at the beach too. I stayed at La Villa D in Yoff, which was clean and quiet, close to the beach and provided dinner each night if desired, at an additional cost.

 

“When I’m in Senegal, I can’t just sit in isolation making music. People need my help. And the Senegalese people helped create my music. It comes from the country itself”

Youssou N’Dour

 

Senegal boats

I’m just back from a cheeky little trip to Senegal – a beautiful country. Sadly I did not have very long there with just 4 days in country and 2 travel days, so I only got to see a tiny amount, only visiting Dakar and Saint-Louis.

I’ve travelled quite a lot in Africa – it’s probably my favourite continent – but had never been to west Africa. Since my return, I’ve read that the name Senegal is thought to come from the Wolof Sunuu Gaal meaning ‘our boat’ – pretty fitting as there are pirogues (canoe style boats) everywhere you look! I took so many photos of them as they are often painted beautiful colours.

pirogues

It’s not just the boats that are pretty though – the buses are often multi-coloured and the outfits are amazing too! And of course the African sunsets take some beating.

European colonisation began in the mid 15th century, with the French ruling from the 19th century, with influence easily seen in the amazing and varied architectural styles. The commonest languages spoken are Wolof and French, despite Senegal gaining its independence in 1960. In fact, I was a bit worried about how I’d get by as I am awful at languages and thus booked more tours than I normally would, as someone who normally prides myself as a fairly independent traveller. More people probably speak English than they’ll admit to, so I maybe could have muddled my way through.

baobab

The two tour companies that I used were quite different – one was Senegalese and the other American. Both had advantages and disadvantages so I guess it depends on whether you want more genuine info on Senegal from those who have always lived there or better English… As I was the sole person on all my tours, I could dictate a little when and where I wanted to stop and thus didn’t feel quite as much pressure as usual to make purchases. Be wary that prices vary widely between companies – in one instance, I found a tour that was over double the price but offered exactly the same thing! In the end, I did that trip on my own and thus saved a lot of money!

The weather was beautiful, food was great – lots of fresh fish and I really enjoyed poulet yassa (chicken with onions in lemon), not too many tourists, miles of beaches etc. Would I go back? Yes, but the world is a big place so I’d probably prefer to explore a few more countries first!

senegal beach

(All photos my own and taken on my smartphone!)

“A Mum’s hug lasts long after she lets go”

Anon

 

I lost my Mum quite suddenly six months ago today and suffice to say that we’re all struggling quite a lot. It’s hard to describe just how incredible my Mum was – a bundle of energy, confidence and love. She had so many friends because of her way of being able to talk to anyone and everyone. There are so many things that I wish I had asked her or learnt from her but I thought I had all the time in the world.

Grief is a funny thing. When I first returned to work after a couple of weeks off, when people asked how I was, I would reply “surviving but not coping”. I don’t feel I’ve moved on from that really. My sleep was starting to improve in December but then took a step back in January so I feel that I have been running on no sleep for six months. I can’t begin to count the number of nights that I have lain in bed sobbing silently so that I don’t worry anyone.

I’m constantly a ball of mixed emotions. I deliberately haven’t looked up the stages of grief – I didn’t think it would be helpful for me. I have had many moments of anger (quickly flaring) but overall, my main emotion is disbelief. Mum and Dad had been walking 8-10 miles every day right up until mid July. She seemed perfectly fit and healthy, so how could she possibly be taken from us just a month later?

I really don’t think it’s hit me yet. Nor do I want it ever to. How could I possibly cope? Logically, I know that I have lost her but I can’t possibly believe that in my heart. My Dad and sister have both started counselling – I’m not sure that I’m ready yet but it’s certainly something that I am considering. I want to be prepared for when I do have to accept facts.

I think the hardest thing is that absolutely noone knows exactly what I am going through. For my siblings it is different to how it is for me and we will all be feeling different things at times. My parents had been happily married for just shy of 40 years – Mum had been planning what the family would do to celebrate in just a few months time. My Dad is absolutely lost without her. They had both retired early, so for the last year had spent every single day together. I’m grateful for that at least. But it is hard to know how best to be there for him. He recently scattered some of Mum’s ashes but told us that he needed to do that on his own as he had promised Mum that he would. We are a close family so are all here for each other and hope that Dad will continue to be honest with us as to how he is faring. I am so pleased that Dad and I are going travelling soon.

When I try to picture Mum, the two memories that most commonly come to mind are my Mum throwing her head back and laughing or dancing around- she was always the first on the dancefloor at weddings etc. When you’re young, I think everyone just assumes that their Mum is the same as everyone else’s. It is only when you become an adult yourself that you see your Mum for who she really is – her strength, compassion, humour. During London 2012, I took Mum along to watch the volleyball with me and then we went for tea and cakes afterwards. I was a little offended afterwards when Dad told me that she had commented on what good company I was. Now I think that she was appreciating me as the women as I have grown up to become, rather than as her little girl. It has taken me longer to realise how much I admire and love my Mum for who she was rather than just as a mother.

Mum and I were always close. I am the oldest of three and we would all call Mum our best friend. We could tell her absolutely anything. My friends find it hilarious that I phoned Mum before I lost my virginity but that was just the relationship we had. I was chatting away on the phone to her whilst I was at Uni, filling her in on all the gossip, and when I hung up, my housemates couldn’t believe that I would be so open and honest with my Mum. I knew she would always be there for me, even if she didn’t approve of or understand everything that I wanted to do. I hope I made her proud.

For our 21st birthdays, Mum made us all a personalised photo album filled with photos of each of us throughout our lives until then. This is one of my most treasured possessions and has been since I first received it. Now it is so lovely to see the thought that went into it and read her handwriting. Of course there are tears everytime.

You many have noticed that I have not once used the ‘d’ word – I just can’t. For me it sounds too harsh and final.

Things that have helped me to cope are writing a notebook of letters to Mum. I have never gone back and read what I have written and don’t think I ever will. So far, I have written when I have had a bad day or there has been an occasion that Mum would have been at. Hopefully, I will soon be writing to share good times with her. I still have my moments of going about my daily business, seeing something and thinking ‘I must remember to tell Mum that’, then it hits me all over again.

I’m afraid I can’t offer any tips. I think it is about not being too hard on yourself and giving yourself however much time you need, There are times you can predict will be difficult, such as Christmas and birthdays but then things take you by surprise. I couldn’t wait for 2017 to be over but then really struggled with the start of the new year – whatever happens this year, I won’t be seeing Mum.

Today I am in Senegal, on my own. I didn’t think about the date when I booked, then contemplated cancelling when I realised. Perhaps it will be good to be on my own… To have time to think and remember good times. I’ll let you know.

Mum

Love always Mum

xxx

 

 

“Nothing prosecco can’t fix”

Anon

 

oxbo roast

Last week, to celebrate a couple of family birthdays, we went to OXBO Bankside (http://www.oxbobankside.co.uk). Of course we went for the bottomless prosecco option – it would be rude not to when it’s only an additional £12 each… I’d definitely recommend booking as it was fairly busy when we went, with lots of big groups and is definitely a good location for a celebration.

With a bottomless booking, you have two hours to help yourself to unlimited starters and desserts and then a choice of mains. Your main is served to you. Last Sunday, we had a choice of roasted sirloin of beef, grilled corn fed chicken, roasted stone bass or thanet cauliflower, broccoli lentil dahl. Unsurprisingly, I opted for the beef and was rather pleased that this came with a Yorkshire pudding (the chicken didn’t). We had a choice of well done or rare but our larger group size meant that I could swap to one which was more to my tastes (medium rare). The vegetables were broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beams. Even though we only got one roast potato, it was large and delicious. High points also go to the meat with both the beef and chicken rating highly. The only downside was that we could have done with a little more gravy between us.

oxbo start

The bottomless roast is £42 per head with unlimited prosecco (£30 for just the food). This is an absolute bargain for the amount of food on offer. The highlight is of course the tables full of starters and desserts. To start, there was a variety of salads, seafood, meat etc. My favourites were the smoked duck breast, coated salmon and beef. I have to confess that we all went up for seconds and could easily have had thirds if we hadn’t been saving ourselves some rooms for the mains!

Dessert wise, there was everything ranging from sweets, cakes, trifles and meringues, with a cheese board as well. I had spotted the prosecco jelly early on so made sure to grab one of those and a couple of the mini fruit meringues. Sadly, there wasn’t much cheese left by the time we got there as we had gone for one of the last sittings. I’m not sure I could have fitted much more in anyway!

We had a great meal and definitely got our moneys worth on the prosecco front! The staff were friendly and attentive. There was live music, which was excellent but a little loud if you were sitting close by. But of course, the best thing was spending time with my lovely family.

oxbo flowers

“Come, listen to my ditty, while of Rye I sing the fame;

For ’tis indeed an ancient town in character and name.

At first it was an island rock all lonely in the sea;

And neither man nor woman there the mariner could see.

I think ’tis more than probable; the seagulls settled here,

And were the sole inhabitants thro’ many a distant year.”

William Holloway (excerpt from ‘Rye: a ballad’)

 

Rye planning

We spent last weekend in Rye for the boys birthday. I chose Rye because we had our first ever weekend away there almost exactly three years ago! We even stayed at the same hotel (http://thegeorgeinrye.com) although my budget didn’t quite extend to the same level of luxury as his! The bed was comfortable but the room was really hot – we ended up unplugging the heater so we could sleep better!

Last time we visited, we went kite surfing which was great fun but i’d definitely recommend waiting until the weather is warmer! We had also climbed the tower of St Mary’s church, which is definitely well worth doing. Keep your eyes looking up so you don’t miss the oldest functioning church turret clock. The Quarterboys strike the quarter hours and there is a tenor bell to announce the hour.

Ypres castle

Somehow, we managed to miss Ypres Tower last time, despite this being just behind the church! I would thoroughly recommend a visit – it’s only £4 for an adult and packed with much more than you’d expect from the outside. The two staff we met were great fun and told us more about the exhibits. I enjoyed reading about the smugglers and other local legends. As you can see from my photo, we didn’t have the best weather (rain in England in February – who’d have thought it!) so didn’t spend too long out on the balcony! Ypres Tower was built in the 14th century, making it the second oldest building in Rye. Walking out towards the cannons after we’d finished looking around, we spotted the Ypres Castle pub. The rain provided a good excuse to pop in and we were lucky to grab seats by the fire. The staff were lovely and the hops above the bar were a lovely touch. We were still full from our generous breakfasts but the food smelt great!

Other pubs worth a mention are the Mermaid Inn, where the notorious Hawkhurst smugglers used to meet. As we were not staying in the hotel, we could only sit in the Inn area. I liked the stained glass and historic wall decorations. The Old Bell, Rye’s oldest pub, has a lovely beer garden (for warmer days) and is quaint in it’s décor.

We made sure we popped into The Tiny Book Store which is crammed full of books of all genres. The Rye map shown in the top picture was bought in Campion Frames which was a treasure trove of goodies – the boy is still talking about a picture he wished he’d bought!

20180210_105219

Overall, we had a lovely chilled weekend. Sadly we had to leave early on Sunday, just as the sun came out and the whole historic town looked beautiful with the backdrop of blue skies. We’ve already said we’ll come back when the weather is warmer, with a view to going to Camber Sands and visiting one of the three nearby vineyards.

“Gin & Tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire”

Winston Churchill

 

This week, we went to the Punch Tavern on Fleet Street (www.punchtavern.com) for our roast and I have to say we were impressed! It’s a historic site, having been a former gin palace and was named due to its proximity to Punch magazine. It is charming inside – we were lucky enough to get a banquet seat with a view of the whole pub area.

 

20180204_192636

 

As per usual, we started off with beers. I had a guest ale which was served in a traditional dimpled glass tankard. I always think beer tastes better out of them!

Roast wise, we had a choice of roast beef or chicken. Obviously I had the beef. It was served with parsnip, cabbage, carrots and bonus cauliflower cheese. The cauliflower cheese was delicious – nicely cheesy but not overdone. The beef was thinly sliced and cooked to our personal taste, which is unusual with a pub roast and meant that the meat scored very highly! The roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding were also good. It was a decent portion size but didn’t look like much when it arrived with all the veg hidden from sight!

Roast punch tavern

I had the Malbec to drink and really enjoyed it. The rioja was not quite so good however. Sadly there was no cheese board option but the chocolate and caramel torte was lovely with a good mix of textures and flavours.

The rest of the menu looks interesting, with some decent veggie options so with the relaxed atmosphere and staff who were friendly and helpful, i’m sure we’ll be back again soon.

pud punch tavern

 

(Quote was displayed in the pub entrance and I quite liked it)